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Project Utilizes Plastic Bubbles in Concrete

Friday, December 13, 2019

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Officials on a project in Germany are saying that by using a specific kind of concrete slabs, 136 tons of carbon dioxide has been prevented from entering the atmosphere.

The trick is reportedly slabs developed by the company Cobiax, which have up to 35% less material that solid reinforced concrete, thanks to hollow spheres of plastic within the material (dubbed “Cobaix void formers”).

The result, according to the company, is not only does this reduce the use of concrete, but because of its light weight, the design also reduced the amount of energy required to transport the slabs. For this project, it translates to 1,613 less tons of concrete used.


Officials on a project in Germany are saying that by using a specific kind of concrete slabs, 136 tons of carbon dioxide has been prevented from entering the atmosphere.

“Although this principle of material reduction in statically unimportant areas of construction has been tried and tested for a long time, and is frequently used (e.g. steel beams and hollow slabs), predominantly, reinforced concrete slabs are still used. In buildings, most of the concrete is used in the slabs,” the company says.

“But the use of concrete, with its high consumption of resources, can be usefully optimized by the implementation of intelligent voided building methods; the Cobiax technology even offers a biaxial loadbearing effect.”

The Project

Construction on the two 13-story SparkassenVersicherung buildings in Mannheim's Glückstein district began in November 2017 under general contractor Diringer & Scheidel Group.

The interlocking mixed-use L-shaped buildings were designed by architects at Sacker from Freiburg and will total 24,300 square meters of office and residential space.

The office building, with its 13-story tower, and the residential building facing it, surround a green inner courtyard, which aims to offer “a perfect synergy of work and living environments.”

Construction of the project was expected to begin in May 2018. Because the project is in the inner city, Cobaix said that the 8,866 void former modules “arrived at the construction site over 16 deliveries, pre-assembled at the factory in order to speed up the unloading process and ensure that the slabs were concreted in according to schedule.”

The shell was completed in July 2019, and the buildings are slated for completion next year.


Tagged categories: concrete; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Emissions; EU; Good Technical Practice; Ongoing projects

Comment from Douglas Pearce, (12/13/2019, 1:10 PM)

The dead air space contained within each bubble will probably also provide a thermal benefit.

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